Requiring only 3 ingredients plus salt and pepper, this classic Southern Italian dish is a delicious way to enjoy summer squash.
When it comes to pasta, complicated sauces aren't always better, especially if you're using fresh produce. Often it only takes a few ingredients to bring out their flavors. If you enjoy simple dishes like Angel Hair Pomodoro and Mediterranean Roasted Vegetable Pasta, this is the recipe for you.
Why you'll love this recipe
- It's full of flavor yet only requires 3 ingredients (plus salt and pepper).
- The easy cooking method gives the zucchini the perfect texture.
- It's a great way to use the extra summer squash from your garden.
Pantry ingredients: Spaghetti, olive oil, salt, and pepper.
Zucchini squash: Choose green or yellow, or any other variety of summer squash. Smaller squash tend to be sweeter and less bitter than larger ones. For this recipe, cut off and discard the ends, then slice into thin rounds with a chef's knife.
For the complete list of ingredients with measurements plus recipe instructions, please see the recipe card at the bottom of this post.
- Cook the spaghetti according to the package directions. Reserve about a cup of the starchy cooking liquid before draining it.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a skillet.
- Add the zucchini to the oil and cook, stirring occasionally, until it's very tender and reduced in size.
- Add the cooked zucchini to the cooked pasta and toss well, adding some of the reserved pasta water as needed.
Zucchini has a high water content, so be sure to allow it to cook down before adding it to the cooked pasta. Don't be surprised when it reduces in volume as it cooks. It's not nearly as dramatic as with fresh spinach, but you will notice a difference. You can't really overcook the zucchini unless you forget about it and let it burn, so when in doubt, leave it on the stove a few minutes longer.
While this pasta is delicious on its own, it's also wonderful served with any of the following salads:
Leftover pasta can be covered and refrigerated for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave. I do not recommend freezing it.
No, there are a few differences between this recipe and Spaghetti alla Nerano. First, the zucchini rounds in that dish are deep fried rather than pan fried. Second, that dish calls for provolone cheese and butter, so it's not suitable for vegans.
Like cucumbers, zucchini produce chemicals called cucurbitacins that can make them taste bitter. To avoid this, cut off and discard both ends before slicing. In addition, larger squash tend to be more bitter, so don't allow your garden vegetables to grow too big before harvesting. And when purchasing at the supermarket or farmers market, choose smaller ones.
Unlike most winter squash, the skin on summer squash is thin and tender. In fact, the skin, seeds, and flesh can all be eaten cooked or raw.
Yes, you can use green zucchini, yellow zucchini, straight or crook neck yellow squash, or even round "eight ball" zucchini in this recipe.
More zucchini recipes
Looking for more ways to enjoy summer squash? Try some of these vegan Mediterranean diet favorites:
And for even more delicious vegan recipes, join the Vegan Mediterranean Diet Recipes Facebook Group for support, inspiration, and fun.
If you love this recipe, please give it 5 stars! ★★★★★
Easy Vegan Spaghetti with Zucchini
- 1 package spaghetti, (12-16 ounces) gluten-free, if desired
- 4 Tablespoons olive oil
- 1½ pounds zucchini, (3-4 squash) sliced into thin rounds
- salt and pepper, to taste
- Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook according to the package directions. Reserve about a cup of the cooking water, drain the pasta, and transfer it to a large serving bowl.
- Meanwhile, heat the olive oil over medium-high heat.
- Add the zucchini rounds and cook, stirring occasionally, until they are very tender and have reduced in size.
- Transfer the cooked zucchini and any remaining cooking oil to the bowl of pasta. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Toss everything together to combine, adding a little of the reserved cooking water as necessary, then serve.
- Smaller squash tend to be sweeter and less bitter than larger ones. Cut off and discard the ends, then slice into thin rounds with a chef's knife.
- Before draining the pasta, use a coffee mug to reserve about a cup of the starchy cooking water. Adding a little in as you toss will help the zucchini and olive oil mixture stick to the spaghetti.
- Zucchini has a high water content, so be sure to allow it to cook down before adding it to the cooked pasta. Don't be surprised when it reduces in volume as it cooks. It's not nearly as dramatic as with fresh spinach, but you will notice a difference. You can't really overcook the zucchini unless you forget about it and let it burn, so when in doubt, leave it on the stove a few minutes longer.
Nutritional information is an estimation only.